×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Woolite trusts commercials to Zombie

Multihyphenate keeps adding media to resume

“Here’s a sentence you’re not going to ever hear again: I was on tour in Australia with Iron Maiden when I got a call from Woolite about doing a commercial.”

This is Rob Zombie describing his unexpected recent gig directing TV spots for laundry detergent, and while it is indeed an unusual sentence, it doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary for a multihyphenate whose endeavors have made him the foremost renaissance man of metal and horror.

This week marks the start of Zombie’s tour with thrash metal legends Slayer, after which he’ll start shooting his fifth film, “The Lords of Salem,” which he pitched to “Paranormal” producer Jason Blum over the phone at a soundcheck during his previous tour. Then it’s back to the studio to record a fifth album with his eponymous band, somehow allowing for time to direct a Comedy Central special with Tom Papa, a curatorship with Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights and a proposed TV adaptation of his 2009 animated feature “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.” And somewhere within all this, he’ll make his bow as a commercials helmer.

The spots are certainly out of the laundry industry’s sunshine-and-puppies wheelhouse, featuring a masked, leather-clad backwoods torturer, a discordant soundtrack and menacing closeups of jagged hooks and blades. Then again, Fangoria subscribers go to Laundromats too.

“I actually was the one a lot of times raising red flags,” Zombie recalled of the shoot. “For (the ad agency), they maybe hadn’t realized the backlash they could be getting, but I’m so used to it that I was in there preempting problems more than they were.”

It’s hard to think of another underground metal veteran who could get away with directing Woolite commercials, but Zombie has always inhabited an unusual place in the culture. Since his days in noise rock band-turned-unexpected radio hitmakers White Zombie, Zombie’s longtime preoccupations with grindhouse horror, comicbooks and low-budget sci-fi largely predated the mainstreaming of geek culture, giving him a rare sort of elder statesman status. Zombie described the difficulty in compartmentalizing his various projects through years-ahead planning to keep his schedule in line(“sometimes it’s amazing the things I’ve had to turn down”). But he’s developed an aesthetic that can be applied to a multiplicity of media with little alteration.

“It’s not like I play this kind of music and then the movies have nothing to do with it. Because then there would be a conflict. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with romantic comedies, but if that were my specialty in movies it would be a little weird.”

Zombie said his various occupations tend to “collide naturally.”

“I have an outlet that most directors don’t have where I get to go out, tour the world, and have this very intimate contact with fans to take the temperature of what’s happening.”

But despite his successes — four of his albums have gone platinum or better, and his films have grossed a combined $121 million theatrically — he echoes a complaint common to genre filmmakers and musicians.

“The one correlation I can draw between hard rock or metal and horror films,” Zombie said, “is that both genres generate millions and millions of dollars and are a lot more universally popular than many other forms of music or movies, but to me feel like they still get zero respect from the industry. Even though it may be the thing that keeps the lights on at these companies, they still treat it like, ‘well, we made those movies too.’ What do you mean you made those movies ‘too’? That’s the whole reason you have a company.”

More Music

  • Phil McIntyre Steps Down as Roc

    Phil McIntyre Steps Down From Roc Nation Management, but Remains Affiliated With Company

    Phil McIntyre has stepped down as president of Roc Nation Management, but his PhilyMack management company remains affiliated with Roc, a source close to the situation tells Variety. PhilyMack, which McIntyre founded in 2006, partnered with Roc Nation in 2015. The source stressed that McIntyre’s role at Roc Nation Management  — whose clients include Rihanna, [...]

  • Miley Cyrus performs during the "I

    Metallica, Miley Cyrus and a Reunited Soundgarden Pay Tribute to Chris Cornell

    Metallica, Foo Fighters, Miley Cyrus and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine headlined an all-star lineup honoring the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell at a mammoth five-hour tribute concert in Los Angeles Wednesday. Mixing rock n’ roll with elements of pop, punk and stripped-down acoustics, the sold-out event was a journey through Cornell’s decades-long career and a [...]

  • Hikaru Utada to Perform 'Kingdom Hearts'

    Hikaru Utada to Perform 'Kingdom Hearts' Songs in PlayStation VR

    PlayStation VR owners can catch a special performance from Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada starting on Friday, Jan. 18, according to the PlayStation Blog. Filmed at the Yokohama Arena, the “Hikaru Utada Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018 – ‘Hikari’ & ‘Chikai’ – VR” features two songs from the “Kingdom Hearts” franchise — “Simple and Clean” [...]

  • Heather Parry Live Nation

    Live Nation Investigation of Heather Parry Also Targets Leakers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Over the past two weeks, the law firm of Paul Hastings LLP has been probing allegations reported by Variety last month that Heather Parry, the head of Live Nation Productions, had verbally abused employees and used offensive language in the workplace. But the lead investigator, Elena Baca, seems to be just as interested in uncovering [...]

  • Gladys Knight

    Gladys Knight to Sing National Anthem at Super Bowl

    The Super Bowl just got more soulful. Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem during Super Bowl LIII. The seven-time Grammy-winner’s performance will take place during the pre-game festivities and be televised live on CBS before the game’s kickoff. “I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown [...]

  • Maren Morris

    Maren Morris Reveals Dates for Massive Tour Supporting New Album, 'Girl'

    Maren Morris today announced dates for her headlining to in support of her forthcoming sophomore album, “Girl.” The tour launches in Chicago on March 9 and features country artists Cassadee Pope and RaeLynn in support. Tickets for the general on-sale will begin Tuesday, January 22 at 10 a.m. local time. Citi is the official presale credit card [...]

  • Grammy Awards60th Annual Grammy Awards, Press

    Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Post Malone, More to Perform at Grammy Awards

    The Recording Academy announced the first group of artists to perform on this year’s 61st annual Grammy Awards: nominees Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Dan + Shay, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes, Janelle Monáe, and Kacey Musgraves. The big show will be hosted by Alicia Keys and broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET 5 p.m. PT [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content